Chess is a game that may not be as popular and glamorous as cricket in Bangladesh but is one where the country has had its fair share of good players.
Players like Niaz Murshed, Rani Hamid and Ziaur Rahman have all had successes and been flag bearers of the sport here.
With that in mind, the Bangladesh Chess Federation (BCF), under the patronisation of the Canadian University of Bangladesh, have organised the Joytu Sheikh Hasina International GrandMaster Chess tournament.
To mark the 75th birth anniversary of the Prime Minister, the tournament began at Hotel 71 in the capital on Sunday. Apart from celebrating the Prime Minister's birthday, the tournament also aims to bring international Grand Masters closer to our local chess players.
The near 70 lakh-budget tournament has already seen some noteworthy performances from local players against international Masters inside the first four days of the tournament.
"We are organising this tournament to celebrate the Honourable Prime Minister's birthday and to show respect for her love and dedication towards Sports," Syed Shahab Uddin Shamim, the General Secretary of Bangladesh Chess Federation and the director of the tournament told The Business Standard (TBS).
"We also want this to be a learning opportunity for our local players," he added.
A total of 61 local and international players are participating in the tournament. Nine international Grand Masters from India, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belgium and Iran are showing their class in it. Two out of five Bangladeshi Grand Masters - GM Ziaur Rahman and GM Enamul Hossain Razib - are participating as well.
All three International Masters from Bangladesh are playing in the tournament but there are no women IM.
"Two of them (WIM) played in the women's league a few days ago and that's why they didn't participate," Shamim explained.
"A number of international Grand Masters have come here to play. Our local players will learn a lot playing with them. They were deprived of a grandmasters' tournament for so long," Shamim added.
Shamim also mentioned that this is the first Grand Masters' tournament in Bangladesh after 12 years. The last time the federation held a GM tournament was in 2009.
"Our players were demanding a tournament. We may not get new Grand Masters from this tournament, but tournaments like this will help our local players excel and increase their efficiency."
Total prize money worth $15,000 will be awarded to the winners. The champion will get $4,000 while the runners-up and third-place finisher will have $2,500 and $1,500 respectively. The fourth to eighth place finishers will be awarded $1,000 each.
Apart from the main prize money, reserve prize money of $2,000 will be given to Bangladesh players.
Players will compete in nine rounds in a round-robin format.
After the fourth round finished on Wednesday, IM Mitrabha Guha of India went into solo lead in the points table, with a maximum of 4 points. He has won all of his matches.
IM Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh and IM Koustav Chatterjee of India are jointly in 2nd position with 3.5 points each.
Seven players are sharing the third position with 3 points each. Bangladeshi GM Ziaur Rahman and FM Debaraj Chatterjee are among them.
Bangladeshi players didn't have the best of performance in the first three rounds but the 4th round went really well for them. Ziaur Rahman's son, Tahsin Zia drew with Iranian GM Ghaem Ehsan Maghami, who is also the zonal champion of Iran, in this round.
Another GM from Bangladesh, GM Enamul Hossain Razib, has three draws and one win in his bag so far.
According to Shamim, the total budget of this tournament is nearly 70 lakh takas.
"Canadian University of Bangladesh is sponsoring us like they did last year. Taka 50 lakhs will be spent on arranging the games and hotel management and 20 lakhs more on the opening and closing ceremonies."
BCF will organise another tournament next month. Shamim said the budget will be more than two crore takas for that. The government's yearly development fund has also raised to 25 lakhs from 10 lakhs per year.
In the coming days, Bangladeshi players will face even tougher opponents as they proceed towards the business end of the tournament. Shamim hopes they will give the international masters a hard time and shine brighter on the international stage when their chances arrive.
Bangladesh has not produced a Grandmaster in chess since 2008. Only Bangladesh and India have been able to produce Grandmasters from this region. Tournaments like this aim to ensure Bangladesh get back to their glory days in chess and move towards to a better future in the sport.